When it comes to eggs, dietary cholesterol and heart health, what you think you know may be a bit scrambled. Concerns over dietary cholesterol and its impact on heart disease keeps many people from eating eggs, despite their nutritional benefits. However, more than 40 years of research shows healthy adults can enjoy an egg every day without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease.
Cracking the cholesterol myth
Enjoying an egg a day as part of a healthy diet balanced with fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy, falls well within current cholesterol guidelines. In fact, according to USDA data, one large egg is 14 percent lower in cholesterol than previously recorded, down from 212 mg to 185 mg, and is also 64 percent higher in vitamin D, with 41 IU per large egg. Moreover, one large egg contains six grams of high-quality protein and 13 essential nutrients for 70 calories.
“Research shows that saturated fat may be more likely to raise a person’s blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol,” says Neva Cochran, registered dietitian, nutrition writer and researcher for Woman’s World Magazine. “Eating a balanced breakfast with high-quality protein foods like eggs, along with other nutrient-rich foods like fruit and whole grains, is the best way to start the day. Unlike sugary foods, eggs have no simple sugars and contain no carbs, providing steady and sustained energy.”
Additionally, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize eggs as a nutrient dense food and state that the consumption of one egg per day is not associated with risk of coronary heart disease or stroke in healthy adults. And, eggs provide high-quality protein that helps build muscles and increases satiety for all-day energy, which can help maintain a healthy weight, an important factor in promoting overall health.
Incredible egg benefits
Cochran also points out that at an average of 15 cents a piece, eggs are an affordable, versatile, nutrient powerhouse that contribute to a healthy diet in many ways:
- Breakfast boosters: Research shows that eating high-quality protein foods for breakfast, like eggs, can help increase satiety, maintain long-lasting energy and improve cognitive skills like memory recall time.
- Sunshine supplement: Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of vitamin D, meaning that one egg provides at least 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance. Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption, helping to form and maintain strong bones.
- Weight-loss companion: Research shows that eating eggs for breakfast can help overweight dieters lose more weight, lower their body mass index and shrink their waist more than eating a bagel of equal calories for breakfast.
Eggs are easy
Adding eggs to your breakfast routine can be easy, even on busy weekday mornings. Whether you’re craving scrambled eggs, an omelet or an egg sandwich, microwaves can be an incredible time-saving tool, so you can start every day with a nutritious breakfast. Try this quick and easy recipe next time you’re in a rush:
Egg and Cheese Breakfast Burrito
1 flour tortilla (6-inch)
1 tablespoon shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 tablespoon salsa
1. Line 2-cup microwave-safe cereal bowl with microwave-safe paper towel. Press tortilla into bowl. Break egg into center of tortilla. Beat egg gently with a fork until blended, being careful not to tear tortilla.
2. Microwave on high 30 seconds; stir. Microwave until egg is almost set, 15 to 30 seconds longer.
3. Remove tortilla with paper towel liner from bowl to flat surface. Top egg with cheese and salsa. Fold bottom of tortilla over egg, then fold in sides.
For more information on the nutrition benefits of eggs or recipe ideas, visit www.eggnutritioncenter.org or www.IncredibleEgg.org, “Like” the Incredible Edible Egg on Facebook or follow @IncredibleEggs on Twitter.